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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

WILLIAM" VON"  HUMBOLBT.                   425
We know that after the death of his wife Hum-
boldt had chosen Tegel as his residence ; and lie soon
did not leave it even in winter. In the latter
years of his life he rarely visited Berlin, and was
seldom present at the meetings of the academy. His
eldest daughter, Caroline., was with him., and was his
chief support ; and his second daughter, Adelheid,
with her husband, the General von Hedemann3 also
had the gratification of being with him dining the
last few years of Ms life. Besides this? there was no
lack of visitors from the town. Princes, statesmen^
and scholars, liked to visit the great man who lived at
Tegel; but he was sometimes so wrapt in his studies^
that he saw no one except his own family, and even
the highest persons in the state could not be ad-
mitted.
His physical condition also warned him. to keep his
last intentions ever in sight. Since the death of his
wife? his physical strength had gradually decreased;
and Ms weakness visibly increased with Ms constant
grief and his incessant mental labour. Those who
saw Mm now in Berlin, and heard Mm speak publicly,
could scarcely form any idea of the formerly so robust
man. As if the mass of ideas wMch he carried with
Mm had now become too heavy, his head fell deeper
and deeper on his breast, and his tongue no longer
moved with its former volubility. To strengthen him-
self, he visited the sea-bath Norderney in 1831, 1832,
and 1833. The bath benefited him, and it seemed
as if fate would prolong Ms life until its task were
fulfilled. He worked industriously at his great work
on the constitution of languages and on the KAWI
language, and arranged all the mass of ideas. wMdb
he had collected and made Ms own.
Most of these ideas axe contained in the great
philological work, but he had found another mode to
express the ideas and feelings wMch occupied Mm.
He had always felt the want of expressing tibe emo-
tions and ideas wMch occupied Jiim in a poetical garb,,
but this tendency increased to a rexoadkable degree